Ultimately, the best way to protect wildlife and habitats in the face of climate change is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that are contributing to the problem. The first step is to understand our individual and organizational/community contributions to climate change, also known as our "carbon footprint" - i.e. how much greenhouse gas emissions do our activities and behaviors contribute to the atmosphere. Check out this Carbon Footprint Calculator from The Nature Conservancy. From there, we can identify opportunities to reduce these emissions by making changes to our behaviors.
Here are some ways you can start to get to know New Hampshire's Wildlife Action Plan - the species in need of attention, important habitats, and actions you can take to benefit wildlife in our state:
One of the best ways to promote protection of natural areas in your community is to get everyone outside enjoying conserved land. Community engagement on conservation land provides an important link between conservation groups and the communities they serve.
Many familiar plants in our gardens, fields, and along roadsides are not native to New Hampshire. While the majority cause no harm to natural habitat or managed farms and forests, some do and are considered invasive plants. Invasive plants can reduce biodiversity, imperil rare species, reduce wildlife habitat by eliminating native foods or changing cover or nest sites, degrade water quality, reduce forest and farm crop production, and cause human health problems.
There are many opportunities for municipalities to include climate impacts and wildlife protection in plans, policies, and regulations. It's important for local residents, interested citizens, and municipal board members advocate for the incorporation of these topics into relevant documents, so that the municipal staff and boards responsible for these documents know there is local support.
Invasive plants often take over places where soils or existing plants have been disturbed – sites like field edges, abondoned farms, roadsides, or at trailheads. One of the best things you can do to minimize the spread of invasive plants is to leave soils and areas of native plants alone, especially in places where invasive plants are nearby.
We love wildlife, but when wild animals are in the wrong place at the wrong time - bears at your birdfeeder, skunks under your porch, or deer in the garden - you need a strategy. When wildlife/human conflicts occur, it's important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each wildlife problem is unique and you need to have some understanding of the animal and the available control methods before beginning any control strategy.
Honey bees and other pollinating insects are crucial to our fruit and vegetable production and contributing to a healthy ecosystem. Unfortunately, pollinators face a number of threats, from habitat loss and degradation to nonnative species and diseases, pesticide misuse, and climate change.
While most people who feed deer in the winter are well-intentioned, there are a number of negative consequences to their actions. White-tailed deer, like many other widlife species, have natural adaptations that help them sruvive the winter. One of these adaptations involves the storage of fat in fall for use later during the winter. Supplemental feeding interferes with how deer use these fat reserves, process food, and expend energy in winter. Feeding deer also makes them more vulnerable to aggressive interactions, predation, disease, and vehicle collisions.
Volunteers throughout New Hampshire help to monitor and protect the water quality of our rivers, streams, and lakes. You can get involved to help collect samples and promote the importance of maintaining water quality. Visit specific program sites below for more information.